2009 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (3-3) vs. Miami (1-5)
Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 2 p.m.
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
Live Video: Horizon League
Network (Mark Minner and Lade Akande)
Bulldogs Host Miami In Middle Of Tripleheader
In one of the busiest days in Butler athletics history, the Butler women's basketball team will host Miami (Ohio) Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. The game will take place at the same time as Butler football's noon Gridiron Classic game. The tripleheader is complete when the BU men host Valparaiso at 7 p.m. Women's basketball admission is free with a football ticket stub.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Bulldogs Coming Off Big Win: Butler's 77-41 win over Evansville Wednesday night was the program's largest margin of victory over a Division I team in nearly 11 years. The Bulldogs defeated UIC, 87-43, on Feb. 11, 1999. Last season, BU posted an 83-40 over Division II school Christian Brothers. Additionally, the win over UE was tied for the 24th largest margin of victory in school history.
2. 2008-09 A Historic Season: Butler is in its 35th season of varsity women's basketball and has the momentum of a program on the rise. The Bulldogs went 20-12 last season and advanced to the second round of the WNIT. It was Butler's first postseason berth since the 1998 team also went to the WNIT. Additionally, the Bulldogs have won 20 games in each of the last two seasons. The last consecutive 20-win seasons for BU was 1994-95 and 1995-96.
3. Coach Couture's Battle: BU head coach Beth Couture successfully battled breast cancer during the offseason. She was diagnosed last April and after 16 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatments, Couture is back on the sideline for her 8th season at Butler. Couture's last treatment came just days before the season opener at Kentucky.
4. Bowen On Fire: Brittany Bowen leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (32-for-51, .627). The 5-foot-10 junior guard was hitting on 58.5 percent of her tries before she had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting against Evansville. Bowen is averaging 13.3 points per game and is also shooting 5-for-11 from 3-point range.
5. Lester, Bowen Leading The Team: Susan Lester and Brittany Bowen each garnered preseason All-Horizon League honors, and they have been the team's leaders through six games. Lester, a preseason first-team all-conference pick and an all-tournament player in Cancun, is averaging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She had a season-high 18 points at Saint Louis and a double-double (16 pts-14 rebs) vs. IPFW, but she missed the Evansville game. Bowen, a preseason second-team honoree, has been the team's leading scorer three times this season.
Better Off The Bench?: Butler's usual starting guards have posted their best performances in games coming off the bench. After starting the season's opening two games, Alyssa Pittman came off the bench at SLU for season highs of 13 points and six rebounds. After starting five games, Brittany Bowen scored 19 points off the bench vs. Evansville.
Welcome Back: Melanie Thornton didn't waste much time making an impact in her first action this season. The senior forward, who sat out the season's first three games, scored 14 points vs. Syracuse and followed that with 10 points, seven boards and three steals vs. Northern Iowa.
Becca ‘Born' Ready: Becca Bornhorst has been BU's best freshman. She scored a career-best 14 points and had seven rebounds vs. Evansville. The Ohio native had 11 points vs. Syracuse in Cancun, just days after scoring six points and pulling in eight rebounds at Saint Louis.
Vs. Miami: Although the Bulldogs are 2-10 all-time versus Miami, BU has the series momentum due to an 86-81 double-overtime win at Oxford last season. Brittany Bowen had 25 points and hit five 3-pointers to lead the Bulldogs. That was BU's first win over the RedHawks since 1998.
Tall Dogs: This year's Butler roster is the tallest squad since Beth Couture arrived on campus in 2002. BU's average height is 5-10 2/3, just a bit taller than the 2007 team.
More On Bowen: Brittany Bowen was BU's high scorer in each of the season's first two games, racking up 16 at Kentucky and 17 vs. IPFW. The Columbus, Ind., native added 11 points at Saint Louis and 13 vs. Northern Iowa in Cancun. Dating back to last season, Bowen has scored in double figures in 13 of Butler's last 15 games.
Home Cooking: Butler is looking for a 3-0 start at home. The 2007-08 Bulldogs started 5-0 at home, the only time they have started better than 2-0 at home under Beth Couture. BU went 10-4 at home last season, the first time the Dogs have won 10 games at Hinkle since Couture came to campus in 2002.
No Lazy Susan: Susan Lester, who missed the Evansville game due to injury, is Butler's leading scorer (14.2) and rebounder (6.6). The senior from Anderson, Ind., was named to the all-tourney team in Cancun after averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 boards in the two games. After netting 14 points at Kentucky, Lester went for a double-double vs. IPFW (16 pts-14 rebs) and a season-high 18 points at SLU.
...More on Susan: With a free throw in the second half at Kentucky, Susan Lester became the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. With 1,065 points, she is 15 points shy of 16th on Butler's all-time list.
Couture Chasing BU Wins Record: If Butler can duplicate what it has done the past two seasons, Beth Couture will be the winningest coach in BU history this season. Couture is just 16 wins shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. Couture needs six victories to tie June Olkowski (1993-99) for 2nd place.
Winning Ways At Butler: The Bulldogs have recorded a winning record in each of the past four seasons, including 20 wins in each of the last two years. After going 14-14 in 2004-05, Butler posted records of 15-14, 16-15 and 20-10, respectively, before finishing 20-12 last season.
Party Like Its 2009: Butler is 18-9 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has five games remaining before 2010 strikes.
Hamilton Plays Solid At The 4: Chloe Hamilton, starting at the ‘4' spot this season, is averaging 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. The Michigan native tied her career best with 12 points vs. Evansville. Hamilton, who had 10 points and five assists vs. Syracuse, leads the team in steals (9) and is second in assists (11).
Pittman Providing A Presence: Alyssa Pittman, the 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year while at Eastern Michigan, has supplied Butler with another scoring threat. The Elkhart, Ind., native had 11 points at Kentucky and 13 at Saint Louis. Pittman is a career .371 3-point shooter and has 160 career treys.
Everybody Getting Minutes: Eleven different Bulldog players are currently averaging at least 8.5 minutes of playing time per game. Ten players are seeing at least 12.0 minutes of time. Last year, nine players saw double-digit minutes.
Holiday Travel: With the trip to Cancun, Butler has set a new standard for playing in exotic locations during Thanksgiving break. The bar was already set pretty high, as BU has traveled to California (2002, 2005), Florida (2003, 2007), Alaska (2006), Saint Louis (2004) and New Mexico (2008) during recent seasons.
MAC Attack: Butler has won its last three games against Mid-American Conference opponents, including its win over the RedHawks last season.
Burns Raising Her Game: Terra Burns has been playing at a high level at the point guard position. The junior scored 12 points in 14 minutes at Kentucky and is averaging 6.5 points and 3.3 assists this season. Burns leads the team at the free throw line, making 12 of her 13 tries (.923).
Defending Well In First Half: Butler has played its best defense in the first half of games this season. Opponents average just 27.8 points in the first half this season. BU has held IPFW (21 points), Northern Iowa (16) and Evansville (20) to season-low scoring totals in the first half.
Freeman Has Best Night: Claire Freeman had career highs in points (9), steals (3) and minutes (17) against Evansville. All three of her steals came in a 2-minute span in the second half, leading to a 7-0 Butler run.
X-Factor: Terra Burns only had two points Wednesday vs. Evansville, but the junior guard played well offensively. She got to the basket often and just happened to miss several close shots, ending the night 0-for-7 from the floor. She did produce five rebounds and four steals and will be facing a young backcourt against Miami.